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When thinking about thrash metal circa 1989 in the U.K., there are a number of images that come to mind, but none of them fit the bill of a raw, semi-death metal infused rage with a side-helping of crossover. After all, this was the heyday of the largely Bay Area informed and moderately aggressive rage of Xentrix, Slammer and D.A.M., as well as the quirky NWOBHM meets progressive interlude that Onslaught went through during their brief "experimental" run with Steve Grimmett at the microphone. But by way of a massive contrast, the sadly short-lived beast that was Energetic Krusher was on a very different road, one that comes a bit closer to what was going on in Germany, Brazil, the extreme fringes of American thrash as exemplified in Slayer, Possessed and Morbid Saint, and even finds itself flirting quite heavily with contemporary Florida death metal acts Death and Obituary.
In terms of aesthetics, both visual and musical, this band's lone studio LP Path To Oblivion has all of the right elements to find itself being mistaken for a death metal album, and just enough of the stylistic trappings of thrash to justify not being labeled as such. The haunting imagery found on the album art could easily be likened to the artistic style of a number of early day Swedish death metal acts, being both vividly literal to its occult character and also with some subtlety (see the demonic shadows on the trees to the left and right). Vocalist Ali Lynn spends most of his time in purely guttural territory normally reserved to David Vincent and John Tardy for this period of time, though it wasn't unheard of for thrash metal bands to get close to the depths and depravity heard on these songs when considering contemporary works out of Sepultura and Kreator. Pretty much the only thing that keeps this thing lodged in thrash metal territory is that the music doesn't cross that thin-line that separated Slayer and the Teutonic Trio from Death's earliest albums, primarily the character of the riff work, which is definitely heavy and dissonant, but not quite enough to move from Pleasure To Kill to Leprosy.
Much of the work found on here is highly methodical, exploiting all the talents of every musician involved and making for something that almost comes off as technical despite the generally simple demeanor of these songs in terms of structure. There is a fair amount of fancy bass activity that runs parallel to the guitars, coming off as a sort of orthodox reassertion of what Cliff Burton took to Metallica, but without the distortion effects and overt Black Sabbath-like quirks and a bit more of a plain, Nuclear Assault take on using the bass as more than a support instrument (*cough* Tom Araya). The Nuclear Assault comparison actually works in a couple of other surprising ways as in spite of the death metal character of the longer works on here, they throw a couple of short ditties like "Yukk" in that remind of the hardcore interludes such as "Hang The Pope", though perhaps not as overtly comical. The lead guitar work is the only area where there is a consistent non-death metal aesthetic, as the solos don't exhibit that exaggerated chaos first pioneered by Kerry King and listen closer to something out of Gary Holt or Alex Skolnick back in the early days of Exodus and Testament. It makes for a somewhat conservative, but definitely satisfying flavor to a mix of otherwise forward looking madness.
Despite frequently resorting to shorter and more punk oriented songs, and the fact that the remnants of this band would later form another act that would head in more of a punk/crossover direction, this album is at its best when things are stretched out to a typical thrash metal song length of over three minutes. Indeed, the opening epic that all but listens like a slightly better mixed answer to Slayer's "Hell Awaits" that is "Lord Of Darkness" is a veritable classic thrasher unto itself that could easily trade blows with aforementioned song, among a number of other powerful works out of mid 1980s Sepultura and Sodom. Similar albeit slightly shorter cases of hard hitting thrash metal with a dark, death metal flavor to them in "The Blades" and "Warpath" trot out some fairly haunting elements, the latter actually starting off almost like a Slayer song reinterpreted with a slight Testament flavor (think the gloomy clean guitar intros littered all over The New Order). But barring the occasional short number that throws off the overall flow of things a bit, pretty much every song on here is a keeper. It's a shame that this band self-destructed so early, given that they could have rode the wave of early 90s death metal alongside Benediction for a couple years before Grunge started screwing with everything. To steal and modify a cliche quote, we'll always have 1989.
The greatest thrash band you've never heard? Energetic Krusher might just fit that bill, ironically coming from the UK of all places. Save for Xentrix, this is a scene I instinctively associate with lighter fare like Acid Reign, Slammer and Re-Animator. Path to Oblivion's moody cover art screams early death metal, and that is very much what Energetic Krusher deliver in spades alongside the dense, dirty riffs and Lynn's sneering, punchy vocals. Although not as overtly brutal as say, Demolition Hammer, Energetic Krusher earn their keep courtesy of harried, complex song structures and monster thrash breaks interjected alongside continuously upbeat tempo and velocity. Looks like this one might be worth digging out from the back of your closet after all.
The year of release (1989) really shouldn't fool anybody, as Path to Oblivion sees a thrash band taking the road less (or seldom, at the time) traveled, dialing up the ferocity without necessitating a decrease in speed. Knock this album one or two notches down in speed and it becomes eerily similar to Altars of Madness, so it isn't all that difficult to deem Energetic Krusher proto-death metal in many regards. All of the early stylistic hallmarks are here, albeit not absurdly overt. The pretty typical thrash framework is adorned with mildly busier tremolo picked sequences and bruising, rangy organ grinders like the punctual "Thrash Ritual" and more fleshed out (and flesh ripping) "The Blades," which simply oozes inky abhorrence. The haunting resonance evoked by the acoustic openings of "The Blast" and "War Path" sounds straight out of the moodier bits of The Years of Decay, only threaded with manic savagery as opposed to controlled chaos. Swampy, evocative and straight to the point, Path to Oblivion is chock full of spilled viscera and reasons to check this forgotten band out.
Save for the unnecessary space-filler "Yukk," the remainder of Energetic Krusher's performance here is as consistent as the songs are stellar in isolation. Lynn simply devours the mic, grumbling and howling his way through the thirty-five minute runtime. The stinking maw of "Lord of Darkness" opens wide and devours all who dare venture near, giving a singular taste of what is in store here. Wade and Parson's bustling thrash chops slice and dice in a manner redolent of early Ripping Corpse, especially on the eponymous closer "Energetic Krusher." The band may arguably lack some level of subtlety and nuance, but the spatter cast off from the blows repeated delivered within does accumulate to something worth looking back on with warped gratification. I usually come in at this point and go into detail concerning where the record in question falls short, but I truly find myself grasping at strewn limbs here.
The production is warm, full and dated in an undeniably endearing manner; and despite the high end of the kit sounding a modicum hissy for my personal taste, it is hardly a bother on the longplay. The savage context engendered with Robert's intense drumming mans one hell of a ship, and while some of the members went on have marginal success with the crossover act Hellbastard, Energetic Krusher is where the true quality can be traced back to. Don't let the infantile name of this band turn you off, as I made that mistake upon first hearing these Englishmen and was forcefully fed my harangues in short order. Path to Oblivion needs to be heard, as it possesses a pummeling saturation not often heard, and has only wizened and refined with age. It will shudder your nethers and elicit ample neck straining; what a treat.
I just dove into these guys for the first time tonight and I am so excited about it that I have to give them an awesome review! This is some pretty crushing old school deathrash! I seriously don't know where these guys have been all my life.
Let me start and say that my favorite part about these guys is the KILLER mid-tempos throughout the cd (the upbeat "kick-snare" drums/riffs). I just love the opening track, Back from the Dead. Whenever I acquire a new listen, I always start with the first track and imagine I am seeing them live and this track really represents what these guys are all about.
Another one of my favorite tracks on this killer record of headbanging madness is The Blades. I really love how the song goes from those killer speed riffs with the fast old school blasts to the mid-tempos and back to the fast speed riffs. I really love hearing that structure in thrash and it always gets me pumped up.
The only real downside to these dudes is that the riffs are for the most part pretty simple. I love me some tech, but that aside I DO think their simplistic mid-tempos are also what makes them so fun, which is also a reason why I gave them such a high score.
I would love to see these guys replicate this awesome cd live at a crusty house show party because I know they would just TEAR IT APART! If you want a really headbangable, fun, and old school deathrash listen, then most definitely check these gentlemen out. They're just really killer to headbang to and I hope to hear from them again.
Favorite tracks : Back from the Dead, The Blades, Energetic Krusher, Yukk.
When ever you think of classic British thrash, you'll think of Xentrix, Acid Reign, Sabbat, DAM and of course Onslaught. The British never got much credit for brutality and aggression in this era, and they never likely will. But turn up a few stones and there are the occassional gems, and Energetic Krusher's path to oblivion is definitely one of them.
By 1989 thrash bands worldwide were incorporating many different sounds into there music. Energetic Krusher have the perfect mix of death metal, oldschool thrash and anything that generally falls under hardcore. The riffs and solos are brilliant, pretty much equal (if not better) to their foreign counterparts. Brain Damage is played with that chugging speedy Slayer style, and has a scorching solo. Thrash ritual is you're usual thrash anthem, designed to flatten or evict any posers from the surrounding barrage of metal mayhem. Back from the dead, has such a traditional evil sounding quality to it, that only the British could pull off (I'm talking Venom and Onslaught.) and the vocals are great. In fact the vocals are good all around, very raspy and gutteral, however the singer tends to drag each line.
Downsides? There are easily a few. The blades is a completely unmemorable track. War path is a great song, but there are so many thrash songs that sound similar and have the same sentiments and so on. Yes it is brutal, but don't take it at face value. The trouble is these guys just were not established enough to take a battering, when thrash dipped in popularity. It's the same story with bands all over the world, who came in far too late in the game. I suppose this record is pretty obscure, but I wont say you HAVE to hear this. It's nothing spectacular or special. But thrash is thrash as they say, and these guys serve an ugly uncompromising portion, and ram it down your throat. These guys were never going to get MTV exposure like Xentrix, or gain a cult following like Sabbat. There was loads of good stuff on offer in the thrash scene. These guys wanted to make some noise themselves. And the results gain a surprising amount of respect from this listener.
Energetic Krusher is an obscure British thrash band. Calling them obscure is somewhat of an understatement, as not much seems to be really known about them at all. But I do know one thing, they sure know how to thrash.
Path to Oblivoin is fast and heavy album, even for 1989. The vocals are a low growl, not too shy of old school death metal. The riffs are mostly thrash, but there is the occasional proto-death riff here and there. Most of the album is played extremely quickly, but with lots of the mid-paced headbanger riffs thrown in between to change up the tempo and make you thrash your brains out (mid-paced is a relative term here, even the slowest riffs are not particularly slow). While there is quite a lot of variety here in terms of songs and riffs, a lot of the album can blend together, especially on a first listen.
Listening to this album, one thing you will notice is that Energetic Krusher definitely knows how to write short songs. Three of the ten songs on the album clock in around two minutes or less, these are some of the best songs on the album, especially Thrash Ritual. Battle Cry is also executed superbly, with a ten second 'slow' part that will make you bang your head as if up from the dead. The longer numbers are chock full of riffs, with some songs being relentless, while others like Brain Damage are a bit slower on thee whole. Occasionaly we also get a badass solo. The solos are not technically amazing in any sense, but they suit the music perfectly and sound great. Kind of like the drums and bass on the album... they serve their purpose well, but are nothing spectacular. But most of the time you won't even notice the drums/bass, aside from the occasional break with just some bass, it's drowned out by awesome riffs.
Last but not least... the greatest thing about this album. The final track, the eponymous "Energetic Krusher". THIS is the best track on the album as far as I am concerned. "Energetic Krusher.... Energetic DEATH!" It's heavy, it thrashes, it's even catchy as all hell. If for no other reason, get this album for this song.
This album is wholeheartedly recommended to anyone that like thrash, old school death, or music that makes them headbang like crazy. Your chances of finding a physical copy these days are probably slim to none, but it's certainly worth a download if you ever see it floating around.